Republicans introduce measure to prohibit forced mail-in voting in NJ
TRENTON — Republican lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would amend the state constitution to guarantee in-person voting in future elections and prohibit ballots from being sent to all registered voters.
All eligible voters for the New Jersey primary in July, a state primary in August and the November election were sent ballots in the mail per an executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy. The presidential election had the highest voter turnout in state history with more than 4 million votes cast.
State Sen. Robert Singer and Assemblymen Sean Kean and Edward Thomson said the change in voting this year caused confusion, calling vote-by-mail an "unmitigated disaster."
"We are now seeing the consequences of forcing people to vote by mail and limiting in-person voting. We need to make sure this mess created by the governor cannot be repeated in future elections," Thompson said.
“Voters were confused and mistrustful of these changes from the beginning and we still don’t know the results of this election," Singer said in a statement. Under the executive order, however, there is extended time for ballots to be returned and counted.
Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 received within the following week will be counted. To allow for Post Office error, ballots without a postmark received by 8 p.m. Friday will also be valid. To make sure voters didn't vote twice, provisional ballots will not be counted until Tuesday, which is the last day for counties to receive the mail-in ballots. Counties must certify their returns with the state by Nov. 23.
Murphy said expanded mail-in voting may be used in future elections, but “I’d like to see us get in-person early voting, make the investments in the electronic roll books and allow folks to vote by machine when they’re voting in person, either early or on election day.”